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2017 has seen a stagnant start to the year with new Construction projects in Ireland, planning applications and start-ups showing little increase on last year, despite Ireland’s structural shortfall and high demand for housing The Director General of the Construction Industry Federation, Tom Parlon said the report indicates limited progression in the construction industry despite the demand for activity across the commercial, residential and infrastructural sectors. The number of projects that have been granted permission are not showing the increase required to meet the target of 35,000 homes being built annually by 2021. Mr Parlon said, “As we move into 2018, we should be seeing a larger increase in the numbers of plans submitted and granted and in the projects starting onsite. We will continue to monitor progress throughout 2018 and 2019 to identify potential blockages in the construction pipeline around the planning system.” The CIF has attributed the housing shortage and lack of infrastructural development to a number of underlying problems, including the lack of finance, problems in the procurement process and planning delays. These are preventing essential projects from being delivered effectively and timeously and leading the country into an infrastructural crisis that could impede economic development. Mr Parlon continued, “The industry currently accounts for about 7% of GDP well below the agreed sustainable level of 12%. Today’s analysis by Construction Information Services should provide a clarion call for Government, local authorities, and industry to collaborate more effectively to deliver Ireland’s construction requirements.”   Projects for which plans have been granted do not offer the value or volume required to really boost the civil engineering sector, particularly as larger scale projects are now nearing completion. Lack of investment by the State has caused vital infrastructure developments to be deferred and, according to Mr Parlon, “DKM carried out an analysis of Government expenditure on actual infrastructure construction (roads, rail, broadband etc) and it revealed that there is only around €350m available annually up to 2019. This amount is paltry in the context of the scale of large infrastructure projects required to cope with Ireland’s rapidly growing population and expanding economy.” The CIS report looks at all projects, from those with proposed plans, to those with permission granted and those that are already underway. Their analysis indicates all areas are either static, down or slightly up on the previous year and suggests there is neither the bulk nor the fiscal worth evident in these to sufficiently boost the civil engineering sector.   Plasterers Required for projects throughout Limerick, Cork, Clare & Kerry https://t.co/qFUaHQoEI9 — Construction Jobs (@Construct_job) August 16, 2017 Project commencements The number of construction projects that have been launched in the first half of 2017 is equivalent to that of the same period last year, with just 8 more projects this year compared to last. Residential developments have fared a little better with 276 ventures starting up in 2017, compared to 200 last year. Of these units, 7,597 are in multi-unit developments which suggests the Government’s efforts to accelerate residential developments, such as through the help to buy scheme, are gaining momentum. Other figures also show an increase in the residential sector with 48 more projects gaining permission, totalling 8,193 units. Regional statistics offer a mismatched picture, with Leinster down by €250m on 2016, but with 35 more projects starting up. Munster offers an inversion of these indicators, with values up by €60m but numbers down by 16. Ulster’s figures have dipped both in terms of monetary value and capacity, by €75m and 4 projects respectively, while Connaught has seen an overall increase with values up by €150m and projects increased by 32. An increase of €151m in values has given Dublin a boost but the volume of development is not commensurate with this rise. Plans Overall, the construction industry has remained almost motionless with a year-on-year increase from 1317 from 2016 to 1325 in the first half of 2017. The residential sector shows a little growth which seems to result from Government initiatives finally gaining impetus. Overall, residential projects have increased in permissions by 48 projects, including self-builds, reaching a total of 8,193 units. Plans granted also shows a continuing downward trend with a drop of 10.4%, meaning 312 less developments compared to the same period in 2016. Plans Submitted Plans submitted do offer a little hope with a slight increase overall with growth in Hotel & Catering (29%), Education (23%), Community & Sport (79%) and Residential (24%) offsetting the drop-offs evident in Agriculture (-34%) and Medical & Care Residential (-11%).
Construction stalls in first half of 2017, indicating a ‘two-speed’ economy While Dublin and the east coast enjoy a plethora of new buildings projects, other parts of Ireland are struggling to keep up, according to new research released by the Construction Industry Federation. After auditing construction projects in the public and private sectors, except one-off housing, Construction Information Services indicate new developments under construction are focussed on several limited areas; namely, 28pc in Munster, 27pc in Dublin, 24pc in Leinster, 13pc in Connaught and 8pc in Ulster (Republic of Ireland). According to the report, the construction industry has stagnated with figures of 1,325 for the first six months of 2017, compared to 1,317 for the same period last year. Between 2015 and 2016, the Republic of Ireland enjoyed a significant upturn in new building projects which is not in evidence this year. This same sluggishness is evident in the number of planning applications that have been granted this year in comparison to the same period last year. Currently, figures indicate that just 2,672 plans have been granted in 2017, a drop of 10.4pc or 312 compared to the equivalent interval in 2016. While residential buildings have enjoyed an increase with 48 more projects granted permission in 2017 than during the first six months of 2016, amounting to 8,193 units, the agricultural sector shows a marked decrease with just 694 projects given the go-ahead. Search 100s of Construction Jobs in your area CIF director general, Tom Parlon, said, "This data shows where construction activity is concentrated and how we are progressing towards the delivery of the €45bn outlined in the Government's Public Capital Programme and the 35,000 homes annual output our society requires.” 36% increase in Ireland House Building https://t.co/zURfOgnn9l — Construction Jobs (@Construct_job) August 14, 2017 Mr Parlon went on to explain that the inactivity in the development of new projects is particularly concerning given that the housing shortage is reaching a crisis point where it is beginning to threaten the economy. "We've long stated that there are fundamental issues such as a lack of finance, procurement issues and infrastructure gaps that are preventing the efficient and timely delivery of critical construction projects," he added With the industry accounting for only around 7pc of the nation’s GDP, it is far below the 12pc agreed upon as a sustainable level. Mr Parlon said the analysis produced by Construction Information Services should alert the Government, local authorities and construction industry to the severity of the problem and encourage them to increase their communal efforts to deliver the country’s construction needs.   Several large projects are now nearing completion, meaning the fall in granted planning developments, plus their lacklustre values and volumes, put the civil engineering sector under extreme pressure. With Ireland enjoying considerable growth, the public capital programme for infrastructure development and construction is failing to keep up. Mr Parlon said the annual budget of €350m per year up to 2019 “is paltry in the context of the scale of large infrastructure projects required to cope with Ireland's rapidly growing population and expanding economy."  Search 100s of Construction Job In your area
36% hike in the building of new houses is good, but not good enough The building of new homes is on the increase, according to GeoView report, with a percentage increase of 36% in the past 12-month period, but the construction industry needs a bigger boost, especially with a quarter of all construction concentrated in Dublin. The GeoDirectory is a database of all buildings, both residential and commercial, that is composed and operated by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland. The report indicates that some 5,966 buildings were currently under construction by the end of June 2017, an increase of over 1,500 on last year’s figures of 4,375. Search & Apply for 1000s of Construction Jobs throughout Ireland CEO of GeoDirectory, Dara Keogh, confirmed a sharp increase in construction but noted that this is focussed on Dublin where the market is struggling to keep up with growing demand. Other areas of Ireland are less fortunate, with some western counties fighting against high numbers of vacant properties. While the GeoDirectory indicates a dramatic fall in unused houses and other buildings, this is partially due to a change in how the database identifies and classifies vacancy. Criteria for vacant property include whether the post office delivers to the property and excludes holiday homes. While the census held in April 2016 indicated 12,3% of all stock was vacant, amounting to a total of 183,312 buildings, the GeoDirectory’s report showed statistics of 96,243 unoccupied dwellings, just 4.9% of the total.   “Are you hiring Construction professionals throughout  UK & Ireland?” https://t.co/ZpaerNzMLa pic.twitter.com/PLQ7RbyUAp — Construction Jobs (@Construct_job) May 24, 2017    “By evaluating how GeoDirectory defines a vacant property, we have reached a figure of 96,243 vacant address points; this is almost 50% lower than previously reported and we believe this is much closer to the true figure,” Mr Keogh said. The highest vacancy rates occur in Leitrim with 16.61%, followed by Roscommon at 13.88% and Mayo with 13.06%. Dublin and its surrounding counties enjoy the lowest percentages in terms of unoccupied properties with Dublin standing at 0.89%, Kildare at 1.99%, Meath at 3.35%, Wicklow at 2.65% and Louth at 3.61%. Other indicators confirm the strength of the property market and suggest that construction activity needs to intensify considerably. Over the year, up until May 2017, 43,767 transactions took place in residential stock but few of these were new buildings.  “As of June 2017, there were 1,967,698 residential dwellings across the Republic of Ireland,” said Annette Hughes, director of DKM Economic Consultants. “With 43,767 property transactions in the year, there was a turnover rate of 2.22%; 90% of the properties transacted were second-hand dwellings.” The construction industry needs to take a leap of faith if it is to meet with the demand for new properties.  
Construction workers are being called back to the old country… A 2015 report, conducted by the Construction Industry Federation, showed that more than 1000 men working in construction related industries, committed suicide after the 2007 recession. It certainly makes for grim reading, however Irish construction workers who left for foreign lands in search of the streets paved with gold, are now being asked to return back to Ireland. Turn Again… Those who currently draw a quantity surveyor salary, site manager salary or maybe even a carpenter salary are being encouraged to return to Ireland with the promise of better rates of pay. The 2007 recession caused massive damage to the construction industry, and workers jumped ship and sailed off in search of better opportunities. The downturn in construction was also off putting for potential apprentices who decided to seek training in other industries and subsequently left a skills gap…which now needs plugging. Yet these statistics are largely coming from bodies with an invested interest like the Construction Industry Federation…so is all that glitters really gold!   Are construction professionals able to demand higher wages? Whilst electricians and carpenter salaries may not be more attractive in the green isle, workers with a more advanced skill set may be set to benefit? And it is particularly good news for architects, site managers and quantity surveyors, as statistics show that these senior positions frequently come with remuneration packages which hit the 100,000 euros mark.   Is it all good news for construction workers? It may seem that all is rosy in the garden, but the recovery rate since 2007 means that there are still less than 50% of the numbers of employees in the construction industry, compared to numbers prior to the recession. Whilst the need for quantity surveyors grows and pushes up salaries, it is a different story for electricians and carpenters, where statistics show that there are often up to 3 people competing for the same position.  Whilst recovery is evident, the pace is not fast enough to return job levels to the same as they were during the heights of the property boom before 2007.   Northern Ireland company Heron Bros. stated that  a lack of work in Northern Ireland meant they are continually sending workers over to the Mainland and have now set up a permanent office in Glasgow. Whilst the company celebrates continued growth, they claim they are having to look for work outside of Northern Ireland in a bid to ensure they can continue to find employment for their 260 strong work force. What happens in Dublin, stays in Dublin… A sentiment which largely claims that any sign of improvement is Dublin centric and not being felt by the rest of the country.  Perhaps a true statement, but economists claim that the rest of the country can only prosper, when Dublin manages to fully recover. The skyline of Dublin is currently crowded with cranes building glossy office blocks which attracted the likes of Google, Facebook and now major players in the finance industry. Across a range of construction roles, including those on quantity surveyor salaries or site manager salaries, workers employed in Dublin are likely to be earning an average of 5k more when compared to someone with the same level of experience who is working elsewhere in Ireland. Big plans for the rest of Ireland In mainland UK, it is widely accepted that London generally provides more opportunities and increased salaries. However in Ireland, there are currently big plans for the rest of the country, in a bid to address this balance, but the success of the scheme would be reliant on a continuously thriving construction industry. The Ireland 2040 initiative is a plan designed to develop cities, regions and to bring balance across Ireland. And construction is key to ensuring this project is successful, with an estimated 112,000 employees being needed to obtain the current housing and building strategies plans. Could this be another Celtic Tiger moment for Ireland? Whilst industry professionals celebrate the plans and visions for the future of Ireland, they also highlight that the Government needs to better support and invest in the current construction industry if the skills and infrastructure are to deliver such ambitious plans.   Let’s take a look at the evidence… Whilst the jury won’t report on the facts, figures and trends for this year until 2018, we have got some conclusive information on the last 12 months .  As originally suggested the hottest jobs include quantity surveyors, project managers and safety professionals. Whilst salaries continue to rise across the industry, construction positions including quantity surveyors and site managers, with approximately 5 years of experience,  are likely to enjoy the biggest increase in wages. The upsurge in construction activity is having a positive effect for tradespeople including carpenters and electricians, but the deficit from 2007, is only likely to be eliminated with assistance from government bodies. Whilst Irish eyes were left crying in the construction downturn…we ask, will the promise of increased activity, tempt Irish workers back home, when jobs and salaries for site managers and electricians are so much better rewarded in the UK, Canada and Dubai? Watch this space.
Plans have been drawn up for a €100 million ‘urban quarter’ at Galway Docks – which will create 500 construction jobs and office space for 2,600 workers. The ‘Bonham Quay’ regeneration project will open up an entirely new area of the city’s waterfront and satisfy urgent calls from the IDA for high-spec city centre office space to attract Foreign Direct Investment. Well-known Galway developer Gerry Barrett has lodged plans with the City Council for 26,000 square metres of ‘Grade A’ office space in four blocks on the two-acre former Topaz oil tanks site at the Docks. It will also offer 2,000 square metres of retail space and restaurants offering views over the Docks and Galway Bay. The project is backed by his Edward Capital company, and will cost €104m to build. According to a spokesperson for the company, the development has the potential to create 500 construction jobs and will provide space for 2,600 workers – satisfying pent-up demand from some multinationals who are waiting for city centre offices. It will create a new urban quarter in the city which Mr Barrett said will be a “reimagining of Galway” in the run up to European City of Culture 2020. He said: “Bonham Quay is a new departure for Galway. The creation of a new urban quarter will stimulate significant employment in Galway city and its environs and will have a ripple impact in the broader national economy. “It will cement a reimagining of Galway as it moves toward 2020 and takes up the mantle of European Capital of Culture. It will make up for a dearth in city centre office space that has precluded major international occupiers of moving operations to the city. It will have a major positive impact on tourism, local entertainment and hospitality offerings. “It will offer significant opportunities for Galway and its surrounding areas post-Brexit with ease of access to both Dublin and Shannon Airports. The quality of lifestyle in Galway is also sure to be a huge attraction for Foreign Direct Investment and their employees. “We will work conscientiously with all stakeholders: government, national agencies, the local authority, elected officials, local business groups and engage with the wider community to deliver 2,600 jobs for Galway. It is our intention to deliver something quite exceptional for the city,” said Mr Barrett.   Source: http://connachttribune.ie/e100m-docks-development-create-500-construction-jobs-500/
The boom is getting “even more boomer”. Well, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) at least, which says 112,000 workers will be required to deliver €17.8 billion worth of housing, infrastructure and foreign direct investment projects over the next three years. Ireland will need 15,200 electricians, 7,800 bricklayers, 11,800 plumbers, 30,800 carpenters and joiners, 13,900 plasterers and tilers, 9,400 painters and decorators, 9,600 managers, 18,100 operatives, and 27,600 general labourers by 2020, the CIF says. And that’s not to mention the plane-loads of architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers also required. And that’s not to mention the plane-loads of architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers also required. Advertise to Irish Workers in the UK looking to move home Irish Times Abroad ran an online survey in March to ask workers’ views on how they see the industry from overseas, how opportunities compare between Ireland and where they currently live, and what they are hearing about what it is really like to work in construction in Ireland today. With just over 300 participants, it’s hard to draw firm conclusions from the multiple choice answers, but the open-text responses reveal interesting trends and opinions on salaries, career opportunities, boom-bust cycles, and personal factors that might draw construction workers back or keep them away. Why did you emigrate? Fewer than half of all respondents to the survey were working full-time in their chosen occupations before emigrating. One in four was unemployed. Australia was the most popular destination, followed by Britain, the US, Canada , the Middle East and New Zealand . “I qualified as an electrician in 2010 after completing a four-year apprenticeship. I was let go the day I qualified, like most other apprentices at the time. I went labouring for cash, but could not get anything more relevant to my trade. I’m not a snob, but after completing a four-year trade and then not being able to work in the trade was depressing,” said one worker who is currently living in Perth. “I sent hundreds of applications for work but could barely get even a response,” said a New Zealand-based engineer who was let go from their job in Ireland in 2010. “I received an offer from a company in Christchurch after the earthquakes. The future was bleak for construction professionals in Ireland so I had no choice but to leave or else all my study and experience would have been wasted.” Nine in 10 survey participants are now employed full-time in their chosen field, while just 2 per cent are out of work. Career opportunities Given that such a high proportion were unemployed before leaving a country in the midst of a recession, it is hardly surprising that 90 per cent of respondents said they would not have had the same opportunities professionally if they had stayed in Ireland. The scale of the projects they have worked on since emigrating are incomparable to any in Ireland; many wrote about multi-million or multi-billion dollar oil and gas, mining or infrastructure projects. For a chartered quantity surveyor working on the Doha Metro, “the opportunity to work on a brand new $45 billion. You’d bring me back to Ireland kicking and screaming,” he wrote.   A mechanical engineer based in the Pilbara in Western Australia, working on the construction phase of Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG project, said he “could not do similar work in Ireland, or even in the UK”. Better jobs Bigger projects with more responsibility are not the only draw; nine in every 10 said the salary and benefits on offer where they lived were better than in Ireland. A quantity surveyor working on Scirt, the NZD$2.5 billion (€1.58 billion) infrastructure rebuild of Christchurch in New Zealand after the earthquakes, doubled his salary since arriving in 2013. “I have risen from the ranks of junior QS to senior in four years, which could never happen in Ireland.” Six in 10 said working conditions were better than in Ireland, while 76 per cent said their career prospects were superior, with more opportunities for promotion, and training provided by their employer. When it comes to overall job satisfaction, 59 per cent said where they work now was better than Ireland, compared with just 9 per cent who said they were more satisfied in Ireland. Respondents in New Zealand and Australia, in particular, mentioned a better work-life balance and a more holistic workplace environment as significant benefits. You are rewarded for hard work, it’s not about who you know “You are rewarded for hard work, it’s not about who you know,” said one engineer working in New Zealand. “They also have a much better work-life balance. They organise regular company outings where you can bring your family. They genuinely care about your health and mental health. You’re not just a number to them.” The way business is conducted in Ireland was criticised by several participants, who mentioned an “old boys club” approach where “things are still done on a wink and a nod, even at top-tier contracting levels” (according to a project manager, in the UK). Others mentioned higher standards of construction, design, and health and safety where they live.   Ireland from afar While a significant proportion of respondents believe opportunities are improving for them at home, and “expect it would be easy to gain employment” (according to a project manager, in Australia), comments reflected concern about the sustainability of recovery, and the Dublin-centric focus of development. “It appears to be improving given that employment is up, but given the lack of coherent strategic plans at a national level to deal with housing and infrastructure, it is heavily exposed to market trends,” wrote one town planner living in the UK, who is looking to return to Ireland after recently having her first child.   “I am starting to see more jobs from Ireland advertised over here,” writes another technician in the UK. “I’m very tentative about moving home in case it picks up and falls flat on its face again.” Half of all respondents thought job prospects had improved, while 28 per cent said they were not sure, and 19 per cent said they didn’t believe they had. In the comments section, many of the “not sure” respondents said they “don’t care” or were “not interested”. “I look on from the outside and think it’s not for me, as there is no comparison in the salary and cost of living,” wrote a mechanical engineering business-owner based in the UK. Lower wages and higher taxes, along with fewer senior positions, were frequently mentioned as deterrents to moving back. “[The economy] has grown, but for an expat to come home it is not yet good enough,” wrote a construction project manager based in Oman. “Rents are high, cost of living is very high, tax is high.” The cost of car insurance, health insurance, and difficulty accessing loans and mortgages are also perceived as impediments. “Things have improved but the pay is less than on offer in New Zealand,” wrote a father-of-two working in earthquake recovery in Christchurch, who is “undecided” about whether to stay or move back. “Looking at the financial cost of moving home with two kids is scary; car insurance and loans prove that Ireland has not progressed in terms of welcoming migrants back.” While the housing shortage is a concern for many respondents, others see potential in it for builders and other construction workers. “Are you hiring Construction professionals throughout  UK & Ireland?” https://t.co/ZpaerNzMLa pic.twitter.com/PLQ7RbyUAp — Construction Jobs (@Construct_job) May 24, 2017 Sector abroad When asked how the construction sector was performing where they live, strong trends emerged between different countries. “Booming” was a word used again and again to describe the UK, especially in London, but uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union is causing concern. Respondents in Western Australia described a slow-down, with many workers moving east to Sydney where there are more opportunities. “There are so many Irish people returning home . . . the construction industry in Australia is not in as strong a position since the downturn in the resources sector,” wrote an electrician currently working on an LNG project in Darwin. “Many high-paying [fly-in fly-out] jobs in remote locations are no longer available. But there is potentially a lot of work arising in the urban areas like Sydney.” A quantity surveyor working on the Doha Metro wrote about how many projects across the Middle East had been postponed or cancelled after the fall in the oil price in 2014. “Many thousands of people have also lost their jobs; so far I have been lucky.” Falling oil prices have also affected activity in Canada. According to one carpenter based in Alberta, the province is “in a recession but compared to Ireland, it’s still booming”. Back in Ireland For those who have already moved back to Ireland, the experience has been far from rosy. Of the 44 returned respondents, difficulty securing a job, low wages and precarious short-term contracts were commonly reported. “Construction positions are on the up, but with stealth taxes and living costs, we are struggling financially, as bad as we were before we emigrated,” wrote a safety consultant and father of four, recently returned from Australia. Others have had difficulty getting their overseas experience or qualifications recognised by employers in Ireland. “The work-life balance is definitely better, and being nearer to family and friends is also a positive,” wrote a plumber recently returned from the US. But despite his 20 years’ experience, he said “hourly rates are poor” at about €18 per hour, and it was “very difficult to get work directly with a good company, as it is all sub-contracted out”. Advertise on the UK & Ireland Construction Network and reach every suitable Construction Professional A carpenter turned foreman, who worked in Australia and Canada before moving back to Ireland last year, said he found a job quickly on his return, but “pay rates don’t compare”. “I lost my no-claims bonus, so van insurance is expensive, and I paid huge duty to bring back my tools in. [This is] very frustrating as the Government is supposedly encouraging people to return.” Will they move home? So where do the workers still living abroad see their future? Four in 10 said they definitely want to move back to live in Ireland; 14 per cent plan to do so within two years. Three in 10 are undecided, while another three in 10 do not plan to ever return. Some said they were willing to “go wherever the work is”. “I’ve always said Ireland, but the longer I stay here the more this becomes home,” said a carpenter who has been working in New Zealand for six years, echoing a common response among those who are “undecided”. “Moving back to Ireland is more work and hassle than staying in Australia,” wrote an engineering manager, currently working on the Metro system in Sydney. “Moving to Ireland would mean learning the Irish system, mostly from scratch. What’s the incentive?” Some are trying their best to make the move home, but feel “stuck abroad”. One electrician living in Sydney with his partner and baby sees his future in Australia, but not for the lack of wanting to be back in Dublin. “We’ve been away for five years now. We do not have enough to buy a house. We are no longer entitled to any benefits in Ireland after so long. So at the moment we have to stay abroad. We live in Sydney, but Ireland will always be home.”   Source:  http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/abroad/if-you-build-it-why-few-emigrant-builders-are-moving-home-1.3069944  
  Are you one of them? Advertise a vacancy today   The September – December 2016 InterTradeIreland Business Monitor Report, issued on Monday, shows that 37 percent of construction companies surveyed reported difficulties recruiting skilled labour, with 33 per cent citing a lack of appropriate skills in their current workforce. There are lots of Construction Jobs In Ireland but very few construction workers are applying.   “We are seeing a resilient, sustained recovery and notable symmetry in challenges faced by firms both North and South,” InterTradeIreland Strategy and Policy Director Aidan Gough said. “The number of companies across the island reporting stability or growth in the last quarter has remained fairly constant at 84 per cent; however exporters continue to fare better than non-exporters with 51 per experiencing growth compared to 36 per cent.   “The construction sector was hit harder than others during the downturn but is reporting robust signs of resurgence with 82 per cent reporting they are stable or in growth. Over 75 per cent of businesses in the sector say they are profitable or very profitable. However an emerging skills shortage in the construction sector is obviously an obstacle to continued growth. This may lead to building firms beginning to feel the pinch in terms of the acquisition of new contracts and servicing the needs of fuller order books.” Further signs of buoyancy are evident in the employment figures reported in the survey, which shows a large increase in the number of firms in the Ireland reporting an increase in employment levels (14 per cent) – the highest number of firms reporting an increase in recent years, with larger firms experiencing a higher rate of growth at 54 per cent.   “The Business Monitor results also reveal that companies across the island are experiencing similar challenges,” Gough said, “although many are signs of a healthy economy and include increased competition, discounting by competitors and difficulties in finding skilled labour as companies grow. However the greatest challenge facing businesses is rising costs, particularly energy costs. “With almost a third of firms reporting that they are running at break-even and 78% already running close to or at capacity, there is a vulnerable tier of the economy that could be exposed to inflationary pressures. Nevertheless, the overall message is that of a robust economy, with companies going into potentially challenging times from a position of relative strength”.   Other insights revealed by the InterTradeIreland Business Monitor include: 98 per cent have no plan in place to deal with the consequences of Brexit 51 per cent of businesses in cross-border sales concerned about currency/exchange rate More than a quarter of growing businesses (28 per cent) have indicated they are experiencing difficulties recruiting appropriate skills for their businesses. 45 per cent of all businesses surveyed noted rising energy costs as a current issue for their business. 49 per cent of businesses surveyed noted rising overheads (apart from energy) as a current concern. Source:  http://www.constructionbusiness.ie/2017/02/more-than-one-third-of-construction-companies-report-recruitment-difficulties/  
There are many construction workers from Ireland, who, in recent years, have felt compelled to seek work in London. This is no surprise of course; before 2014, the Irish construction industry (and the wider economy) had experienced seven years of decline - a decline that was simply unprecedented. However, the Irish economy is on the up and rising fortunes within the construction industry in Ireland means that the need to travel to London for work should no longer be seen as the only option. Construction in Ireland has most certainly improved and, at long last, rates of pay are starting to increase. Intangible Costs Of course, those that currently fly back home weekly or monthly from London may have flights and accommodation paid for by the company they work for. So, while they are not financially out of pocket, they do potentially lose out on so much more. The real downside is being separated from family every week. Only seeing family and kids at the weekend means people in this position are effectively missing out on seeing their children growing up. That is something that you cannot put a price on. Being away from partners for a week or weeks at a time may also put a strain on relationships. Advertise a Construction Vacancy   So, there is the intangible cost (being away from family) to factor in. Furthermore, there is the tangible cost to consider too. In the latest figures produced by Expatistan, who study the cost of living index in cities across the globe, Dublin was reported as being 24% cheaper to live in than London. Direct Costs Dublin is comparable to London for the price of clothing and just 2% cheaper for food. However, there are there some marked differences overall. Dublin is 17% cheaper than London regarding entertainment and 18% lower for personal care. The most significant differences, however, are for transportation - which is 29% cheaper in Dublin. The biggest difference overall is for housing. Dublin Housing is a massive 39% cheaper than in London. In fact, by whatever renowned measure you choose to look at, Dublin comes out on top. The Mercer Quality of Living Survey is an annual comparison of cities using a large set of criteria (39 separate factors) including education, healthcare, hygiene, environment, safety, recreation, public transport and political-economic stability. Dublin is significantly ahead of London in this survey. Dublin has many advantages: much cheaper fuel and housing alongside other important considerations such as lower population density, more hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants and lower inequalities in income overall. The Irish government haven’t been standing still either.  Two pieces of legislation have improved the construction industry in Ireland. The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 will tighten up control with increased monitoring and safety on building works to hopefully ensure that developments like Priory Hall never happen again. The Construction Contracts Act 2013, enacted in July 2013, will - in time - help to secure the industry and ensure continued stability and growth. It requires all contracts to include full mechanisms for payment. Buoyed by these two important legislative gains, stability in the market will further increase for 2016 and beyond. Conclusion It looks like the time is right for those construction workers currently engaged in the treadmill of working in London during the week and flying home to reconsider their options. Rates of pay, 'money in the back pocket', so to speak is obviously important - but taking a wider view and considering the cost of living and quality of life is even more important.  
The latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index shows activity rose to 63.6 for the first sector of this  year from 58.6 in December on the back of new business. Total activity in the construction sector has increased in each of the past 29 months, according to the index. All three sub-categories monitored by the index – housing, commercial and civil engineering – recorded a rise in activity. The sharpest increase was in housing activity which recorded the strongest growth since October 2014, rising from 28.3 to 65.8. Commercial activity jumped from 59.7 to 62.4 while civil engineering activity rose from 52 to 54.7. The index reported a sharp rise in new business while the rate of job creation quickened for the third month running. Business sentiment was little-changed at the start of the year, remaining strongly positive. Rising new work was the main driver of optimism regarding activity for the year ahead, with three-fifths of respondents predicting growth. Construction firms increased their purchasing activity at a stronger pace in January due to a rise in new orders. Input buying has expanded in each month since March 2014, the index